A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about borneo

DAMAI BEACH, BORNEO - MALAYSIA

Beautiful, secluded Damai Beach

sunny 35 °C

I was staying in Kuching, and the nearest beach I could find was Damai Beach, approx 30-40min via taxi. I'm sure there was a bus, but I have no patience for that. The taxi was 120 Ringgit roundtrip, which is about $41 Canadian.
large_IMG_0303-001.jpg
large_IMG_0300-001.jpg
My plan for the day was to have a relaxing beach day and work on my tan since the majority of my first 2wks of traveling was rain! But when I arrived I soon found out that Malaysian women are still covered head to toe, even at the beach. Their husbands however quickly stripped down to their tighty whities and ran into the ocean while their wives sat in the shade completely covered and sweating away.
large_IMG_0312-001.jpg
large_IMG_0325-001.jpg
I didnt feel comfortable removing my sundress and suntanning in a bikini after seeing how the local women were dressed at the beach. I felt that even my sundress, which was knee length with spaghetti straps, was too 'revealing'. So instead of tanning I walked the length of the 'boardwalk' taking photos.
large_IMG_0354-001.jpg
large_IMG_0343-001.jpg
I noticed these tiny snails all over the beach making intricate designs in the sand as they moved about.
large_IMG_0307-001.jpg
large_IMG_0310-001.jpg
large_IMG_0323-001.jpg
There was only 2 or 3 hotels on the beach, plus these cabins for rent. At the far end of the beach was a place with a big cafeteria like restaurant with many vendors selling many different kinds of food. I enjoyed a chocolate banana roti.
large_IMG_0371-001.jpg
Well, thats all for my day at the beach. Although I didnt get to relax the way I had hoped, I still enjoyed it. It was very clean, and very few people ... just the way I like a beach :)

Posted by ChantelleS 10:57 Archived in Malaysia Tagged beach tree malaysia borneo tropical asai Comments (0)

BAKO NATIONAL PARK, BORNEO - MALAYSIA

It took 6hrs of hiking in the rain, but we finally came across the world's rarest primate ... Proboscis Monkeys!!

rain 35 °C

Well, today sucked, but was awesome all at the same time. My number one reason for choosing to travel to Borneo was to see orangutans & proboscis monkeys in the wild.
large_82EAEDDEFC4D90EA151F594DA007899B.jpg
When I woke up this morning it was really cloudy and looked like it might rain, but I headed to Bako National Park anyways, seeing how I only had 5 days total in Borneo I didnt want to waste a day. I took a taxi from Kuching to Bako NP for 50 Ringgit ($17 CAD). Yes, theres also a bus that will take you there. No, I did not feel like searching for the correct bus stop, nor standing around waiting for it. As soon as my taxi arrived at the boat termianl to Bako NP it started raining. And by raining, I mean pouring!! Sigh. Luckily there was a guy selling rain ponchos! It was the best 5 Ringgit I ever spent, lol! It kept me & my camera gear dry.
large_862BAE23E7546B4B10D1768B525D34C7.jpg
Myself, and a handful of other tourists who had their hearts set on seeing proboscis monkeys, decided to sit in the boat terminal and see if the rain would let up. It didnt. In the mean time I met a wonderful girl named Izabela from Poland. It was her last day in Kuching and she wasnt leaving until she saw some monkeys. We became instant friends :) I'm so thankful I met her, cuz if I hadnt, I probably would have gotten back in that taxi and went back to my hotel. But instead we waited until the pouring rain turnt into a light drizzle, and shared a boat to Bako NP. You pay per boat, not per person. No one else wanted to join us in the rain, so it was 47 Ringgit each (that inc paying the boat driver to stay and extra hour in the park), $16 CAD.
large_862ABD06E4E4049214DA39D0F3F81C38.jpg
Some views from the boat along the way.
large_IMG_0256-001.jpg
large_IMG_9796-001.jpg
large_IMG_9798-001.jpg
Arriving in Bako NP we found out there is no pier. They just drop you in thigh deep water and you have to wade to shore. Not fun when its already raining.

Arriving in Bako NP
large_IMG_9848-001.jpg
As soon as we made it to shore, it starting pouring again. And what do I do? Slip and fall in my flip flops, stub my big toe, and rip my toenail off!! Completely off! I nearly vomited it was so gross!! Thankfully there is a lodge here with a medical center (who fixed me up good), toilets & a cafeteria. The food was cold and gross, so bring your own if you can. We ate a crappy lunch together, and then sat watching the rain for awhile, hoping it'd let up. It didnt. So we donned our rain ponchos, and huddling together under my umbrella, we walked the trails, looking up into the falling rain, in search of the world's rarest primate! It was great to share this adventure with someone who appreciates wildlife as much as I do, and understands how incredibly rare these animals are!

Well the first 5 soggy hours all we found were some wet Bornean Bearded Pigs near the lodge, and a few Long-Tailed Macaques.
large_IMG_9823-001.jpglarge_IMG_9824-001.jpg
large_IMG_9831-001.jpg
large_IMG_0040-001.jpg
large_IMG_0079-001.jpg
large_IMG_9846-001.jpg
Even though it literally rained the entire time we were here, one could not complain. The rainforest is SO lush & green! And despite the rain, we weren't cold because it was still 30C out! We were prunes by the end of the day though, lol!
large_IMG_9882-001.jpg
large_IMG_9913-001.jpg
large_IMG_0026-001.jpg
large_IMG_0030-001.jpg
large_IMG_0001-001.jpg
Part way down one trail was a shelter-hut. We stopped to take a few photos. Izabela set her backpack down, and a macaque stole it in 2.0 seconds!! They can be quite vicious, so you dont want to just walk up and take your bag back. No point in getting bitten / rabies. With one bite it had chomped a hole right through the canvas material!! But Izabela needed her backpack back ... her passport was in it! So I gave her my umbrella to use as a sort of shield to protect herself in case the monkey attacked. She opened & closed the umbrella over & over again in front of the monkey and that scared the monkey off. Backpack saved :)
large_IMG_9884-001.jpg
large_IMG_9890-001.jpg
large_umbrella_vs_monkey.jpg
We took a break from walking through puddles and staring up into the trees, and headed back to the lodge. We were beginning to feel defeated, that we had wasted our money and an entire day. But then we talked to some people who had been staying in some of the cabins for rent in the park who said the proboscis monkeys come close to the lodge around supper time because they can smell the food. We decided to take a chance and paid our boat driver to wait an extra hour til supper time in hopes of spotting some. And it was the best decision of the day!! Sure enough, right around supper time we heard a 'bang bang bang' as a huge proboscis monkey jumped out of a tree, landed on the metal roof of a nearby cabin, ran across it, and then lept into a tree!!! Rain ponchos on, umbrella up, and off we went cameras in hand to get a closer look :)
large_IMG_9970-001.jpg
They are tall like a man! Much bigger than I was expecting! And the noses ... hahaha! The males have a huge nose! They look like Muppets :)
large_IMG_9938-001.jpg
Eventually the big male lept from tree to tree and disappeared deeper into the rainforest. But now our spirits were up, and the rain even stopped! So we went exploring once again.
large_IMG_0151-001.jpg
large_IMG_0155-001.jpg
large_IMG_0142-001.jpg
large_IMG_0530-001.jpg
large_82EAEDDEFC4D90EA151F594DA007899B.jpg
large_IMG_0176-001.jpg
large_82F49AF7F089E831DFA6B01BD11DC452.jpg
They are quite active, but I managed to get a photo of one leaping from one tree to the next.
large_IMG_0232-001.jpg
The females are alot smaller, and dont have those big noses.
large_IMG_0187-001.jpg
We even spotted this baby way up in the trees :)
large_IMG_9997-001.jpg
That last hour that we paid the boat driver was definitely worth it, but it went by much too fast. After a successful, albeit wet, day, we headed back down the river to the boat terminal. Only to discover that all buses & taxis disappeared after the park closed. So we were trapped in a little village. But we made the most of it. We found a little outdoor market.
large_IMG_0288-001.jpg
large_IMG_0274-001.jpg
large_IMG_0277-001.jpg
large_IMG_0279-001.jpg
large_IMG_0280-001.jpg
large_IMG_0282-001.jpg
large_IMG_0283-001.jpg
large_IMG_0285-001.jpg
Beside the market was a little shack of a restaurant where I ate the best meal I had the whole time in Borneo! The ladies working there didnt speak a word of English so we had no idea what we were going to get. But what we got was delicious and only $1! A great end to the day :) We hitched a ride back to Kuching with a local man heading that way in his car. Call it hitchhiking I suppose ;)
large_IMG_0293-001.jpg

Posted by ChantelleS 20:05 Archived in Malaysia Tagged rainforest wildlife monkey malaysia jungle borneo animal pig proboscis Comments (0)

KUCHING, BORNEO - MALAYSIA

Kuching's waterfront, life along the Sarawak River, Semenggoh & Matang Wildlife Center

semi-overcast 37 °C

After a week of traveling all around Bali, Indonesia I flew to Borneo. Where the heck is Borneo you ask? Its right above Indonesia. Its that big island on the map. Its made up of 3 countries. Mostly Indonesia, part Malaysia, and a wee bit Brunei. I visited the Malaysian part. I flew into Kuching, in the northwest part of Borneo and stayed there for 5 days.
large_borneo_map.jpg
I stayed at the Harbor View Hotel, I forgot to take a photo of it, but it was really nice, I promise, lol! This was the view from my room. It was $43 CAD a night. They served breakfast in the morning, but it was not included and cost about $10 CAD. They also offered my favorite amenity ... free wifi :)
large_87E07677BA168E73870BA3081FA81750.jpg
large_87E16667D60786F72CDB32CD32993428.jpg
My hotel was across the street from Kuching's waterfront. Its a long boardwalk that runs the length of the Sarawak River.
large_87E9399F083580962E4593600D9A87AF.jpg
Main street along the river with many shops.
large_87FC06F5D70243F303A997B146F61310.jpg
I spent alot of time walking along the waterfront. The place really came alive at night with vendors selling all kinds of food & souvenirs, street preformers & musicians. There were also great views of the giant golden temple across the river ... which is actually not a temple, but the government buildings! Fancy!
large_87EA779CA716631EB8C81A808DBE64BF.jpg
large_88233E779D525753A6D8A7D2454789E7.jpg
I also noticed many Chinese temples everywhere! One right in front of my hotel.
large_88084087AA2E94278FF6693C1A411913.jpg
large_880B92A4C55FEC2972C2FDC4AC802478.jpg
large_88186C2CDF482F82FCCA92932E3E72D0.jpg
Chinese gazebo & lanterns along the waterfront.
large_881F55CCDA160EC38B8870FCE8EC9B0E.jpg
large_87F9CFD40FB7AB9762B406A785C683F2.jpg
One of my favorite things to do was to watch the boats on the Sarawak River. You could pay for a ride along the river, or for a ride across to the other side. I passed though. Its the same view from land looking across as it is from a boat.
large_8834FBEDCAB2A1B17F4CDC33285F0C41.jpg
large_883E6011A6974156D8BE343DAC3B86DF.jpg
large_8834103B97A80726591372F0E6A4D485.jpg
large_883D56560124722D732F8DB8468D65B1.jpg
Walking through the city I came across my very first mosque :) They are beautiful!
large_882EB53EDABC3AD0A0DE7435A1B4A6CF.jpg
large_882D8DD7CD9014DC1723930D24B0C131.jpg
I booked roundtrip transportation & admission to Semenggoh through the front desk of my hotel for only 50 Ringgit ($17 CAD), which is a steal of a deal considering my Lonely Planet guide said it would be 45 Rinngit just for the transportation one way! So the very next day thats where I went!
large_IMG_8842-001.jpg
My main reason for traveling to Borneo was to see wild orangutans! They only live wild & free in 2 places left in this world which is quite sad ... Borneo, and in Sumatra, Indonesia. Upon arriving at Semenggoh there is a small visitor's center with info on the orangs, and washrooms, but no snacks. No food is allowed in the area. You are given a guide who leads you through the rainforest to 2 different viewing areas. Wooden platforms have been built in the rainforest, and ropes attached to the platforms for the orangs to play on. The platforms are then piled high with bananas, coconuts & pineapple. And then we wait. And wait & wait. And then wait some more. Just to clarify, the orangutans in the following photos are 100% WILD, so they dont care how far you've traveled, or how much $ you've paid, or how long you have to stand there waiting ... they are wild, and free to do what they want. So they only show up if they feel like it.

Although it took awhile, staring up at the treetops, looking for any tell-tale sign of an orangutan, was exhilarating! My first glimpse of ginger fur leaping treetop to treetop made my heart skip a beat! This is why I love to travel! THAT feeling! Some women say men make their heart skip a beat ... for me its big hairy ginger apes, LOL!!
large_IMG_8890-001.jpg
Look at hose muscles!
large_81D982FCA7479BBBC4E50E798F838FFE.jpg
I ended up visiting Semenggoh twice ... this day, and again on my last day. On my second visit NO orangutans showed up :( But on this day ... 4 showed up! I didnt realized in the moment how lucky I was to see that many, until I visited again and didnt see any, and also spoke to others who had gone 4 different times and hadnt gotten to see any at all!
large_IMG_8914-001.jpg
large_IMG_8918-001.jpg
Only 1 male showed up at the first platform. We watched him for awhile, and then the guide led us farther into the forest where the 2nd viewing area was. There were 3 orangs at this one! A mom with a baby clinging to her (!!!!!!!!) and another youngster a little older :) AMAZING!!
large_IMG_8994-001.jpg
large_IMG_9045-001.jpg
This young one was a show off, lol! He'd swing across the ropes and then just hang there upside-down eating a coconut, watching us. He even knew how to smack the coconut against a tree hard enough to crack it open and then drink the milk out! Clever little guy :)
large_IMG_8979-001.jpg
large_IMG_8983-001.jpg
large_IMG_9014-001.jpg
large_IMG_9062-001.jpg
large_IMG_9097-001.jpg
Stuffing his face fulls of bananas :)
large_8223AFFDE6E57617BA89340F15B4E939.jpg
Also at Semenggoh I saw this blue eyed lizard just chillin' on a tree!
large_IMG_0382-001.jpg
large_IMG_0374-001.jpg
There was this 'highway' of ants (or possibly termites ... I dont actually know what a termite looks like) making their way along the path and up a tree!
large_IMG_9213-001.jpg
After a few wonderful hours watching these beautiful creatures, they disappeared back into the rainforest to do whatever it is the wild orangutans do :)

I then headed over the Matang Wildlife Center. I had read that it was a rehabilitation center for wounded & orphaned animals, but it looked basically like a zoo. But there was a vet clinic area where gibbons & macaques were being tended to.
large_IMG_9757-001.jpg
Although most animals were in cages, there were a few in open-air 'pits' with platforms that humans could then look down into the pit at the animals. The orangutans could 100% get out if they tried! The walls of the pit were only about 12ft high or so. If an orang can leap vast distances between treetops, then they could definitely jump over this wall. Maybe they dont realize freedom is on the other side??
large_IMG_9635-001.jpg
large_IMG_9637-001.jpg
large_8284CDE6A6585789FE8AC76CE80DC7AC.jpg
large_82873E82E572E50711D2F19F0455B4D1.jpg
large_828B109BAFE0AE52C2ABBE05F286C714.jpg
This guy looks quite bored in his jungle gym.
large_IMG_9617-001.jpg
Matang is located literally in the middle of nowhere! The views of the rainforest on the drive out (I just took a taxi) were stunning! So that being said, while walking the trails around the center, I was still completely in the rainforest where any wild animals could attack!
large_IMG_9745-001.jpg
large_IMG_9750-001.jpg
large_IMG_9753-001.jpg
I was by myself, no other visitors were at the center while I was there ... so every little sound made me jumpy! A leaf fell & landed on my shoulder and I nearly screamed, lol! After seeing this sign below, I was even more nervous! There was also another sign (which I forgot to take a pic of) that showed photos of orangutan attack victims!! The inflicted wounds were quite gruesome!
large_IMG_9217-001.jpg
I kept looking over my shoulder every few minutes to be sure a Clouded Leopard wasnt hunting me, lol! In the end, the only wild animals I encountered were this lizard and dragonfly, lol!!
large_IMG_9569-001.jpg
large_IMG_9340-001.jpg
There was also a pit with a Malayan Sun Bear.
large_IMG_9242-001.jpg
I didnt take photos of all the animals, because some of the cages had just way too many bars to get decent photos. But here are some that I was able to get nice pictures of.
Buffy Fish Owl
large_IMG_9481-001.jpg
I dont remember this bird's name, but he looked like a grumpy old man, lol!
large_IMG_9468-001.jpg
Crocodile
large_IMG_9518-001.jpg
False Gharial Crocodile ... they are known for their long, slender snouts and razor sharp teeth!
large_IMG_9533-001.jpg
large_IMG_9529-001.jpg
large_IMG_9536-001.jpg
large_IMG_9538-001.jpg
large_9F2682419EAE0144B70E4D334594F5DC.jpg
Although most of the animals were in cages, it was still awesome to see so many Asian species I'd never seen before! We definitely dont have these animals in Canada! There was a Clouded Leopard, Gibbons (the call of a gibbon is the coolest sound in the world!), hornbills, bintorangs (aka Asian Bear Cat), and Sambar Deer.

Well thats it for Kuching. Stay tuned for upcoming posts on hiking in Bako National Park, and a day at Damai Beach :)

Posted by ChantelleS 12:24 Archived in Malaysia Tagged rainforest water boat wildlife temple monkey malaysia borneo crocodile tropical orangutan Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 3 of 3) Page [1]